The Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Perception of Effort in an Isolated Isometric Elbow Flexion Task

in Motor Control
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The purported ergogenic actions of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied to motor cortex (M1) on force production and perception of effort were investigated using a 10-item numerical rating scale (0–10 NRS) in nonfatiguing bouts of a force-matching task utilizing isometric elbow flexion. Using a crossover design, 12 healthy volunteers received sham, anodal, and cathodal tDCS randomly for 10 min (1.5 mA, 62 μA/cm2) to the left M1 in a double-blind manner. Corticospinal excitability changes were also monitored using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with surface electromyography (sEMG) to monitor both motor evoked potentials (MEPs) and force-EMG from right m. biceps brachii and m. brachioradialis brachii. No significant differences between the verum and sham stimulation were obtained for elbow flexion maximum voluntary force, perception of effort, or sEMG. There were also no significant differences in MEP changes for the types of tDCS, which is consistent with reports that tDCS excitability effects are diminished during ongoing cognitive and motor activities.

Lampropoulou is with the Physiotherapy Dept., Higher Technological Educational Institute of Patras, West Greece, Aigio, Greece. Nowicky is with the Centre for Research in Rehabilitation, Brunel University, Uxbridge, UK.

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